My experience completing this project was frustrating, and some times just plain uncomfortable. I interviewed my uncle about his time as a Corrections Officer and he seemed reluctant to share a lot of information to his young niece about what he saw.
A lot of questions were given general answers. Vague comments like “it was hard. I saw a lot of bad things.”littered my transcript. He didn’t want me to know what happened, and it seemed like he was trying to shield me from whatever he wasn’t saying.
At one point in our jumbled interview my uncle told me about how he often kept his daily experiences to himself; not wanting to bother or disturb his family with what happened. He said they didn’t need to know the “dramatic” parts of his day. I think he was trying to keep those “dramatics” away from me too.
My photos didn’t quite come out the way I wanted either. I snapped photos of my uncle’s CO memorabilia — badges, photos, pins, etc. — but all the photos came out blurred and out of focus. I couldn’t get any good angles of the objects and no matter what I did, both with my camera and in post-editing, none of the pictures were working out how I hoped they would.
I had spent 30 minutes driving down to Belen to spend 8 minutes taking pictures that all turned out pretty terrible. I left my uncle’s feeling defeated and disappointed. I decided to drive down Main St., with Siri in my lap directing me to CNMCF the corrections facility my uncle formerly worked at. I pulled over at the edge of the ground, snapping pictures from the side of the road. A car drove by and I tried to hide my camera and pretend I was lost. I felt like a weird hooligan. I approached the front gate anyway, not expecting access but thinking I should YOLO it anyway.
When I was denied entry, I shrugged and left, deciding to drive the 30 minutes back home. I tried to work with the photos I had, smashing my head against my desk constantly as I edited.
But, I think the project turned out surprisingly well, considering how frustrating the entire process was.